Holly Ashley, Chamber Economic Development Coordinator
You’re a Chamber member business and you keep hearing everyone boast about the explosion of new business investment and jobs in our community. It seems every month a new company is moving to Chattanooga and investing millions in the local economy, creating new jobs and attracting media attention. It’s all fantastic news, really, but you might find yourself wondering “what’s in it for me?”
So here it is – consumer spending. Business leaders know the consumer is king and they wield their power through the dollars they spend. Consumer spending drives the economy and it’s a big part of what’s in it for you as a Chamber member benefiting from Chamber-assisted economic development projects. How so?
A recent impact analysis of announced projects in 2015 shows that local businesses will benefit from $191.4 million in new annual consumer spending. Sell cars? Those new employees will buy locally. Run a restaurant? Guess where they’ll be dining. Develop housing? Increased wages help families buy their first homes. From insurance brokers and financial planners to retail store owners and caterers, nearly every business benefits from increased consumer spending.
In 2015, Chamber-assisted projects created 4,945 direct and indirect jobs with an ongoing annual economic impact of $238 million from wages and operations. What’s more, there are one-time economic impacts that benefit local businesses. For example, construction activity alone from the 2015 investments will have a $650 million impact and create 700 construction jobs. A temporary boom like this provides local companies in that industry with enough additional revenue to afford that next strategic investment in their own business.
“I think a common misconception concerning economic development projects is that big corporations are the only ones that benefit; but really, the entire local economy benefits – especially schools. Every company that expands or is recruited to Chattanooga pays education taxes from day one and they are never waived. If you look at all the Chamber-assisted economic projects from 2015 alone, those companies will contribute a projected 10-year total of $10,674,356 in school taxes that go directly into our local education budget. That averages out to more than $1,000,000 a year in new funding that will go towards educating our children.
A big part of economic development, outside of creating jobs for our community, is increasing local tax revenues for our city and county. And while some companies may receive initial tax breaks, the goal of each project is to generate return on investment and increase local tax revenues which helps mitigate the need to increase taxes. These major projects are a strategic, long-term play to build the tax base, create lasting jobs for our neighbors and increase consumer spending at small businesses in the Chattanooga region.”
Charles Wood, Chamber VP Economic Development
There are even more benefits to the community as a whole, including a more diversified economy that’s resilient to economic downturns, the growth of the local labor pool, an increase in local tax revenues and the continued rise in Chattanooga’s visibility to the rest of the world. The economic development efforts of the Chamber and its valuable partners in city, county and state government will continue to be focused on creating well-paying jobs for our community in order to bring these benefits to every business in the greater Chattanooga area.
So what exactly does the Chamber’s economic development work involve? These coordinated efforts include both new business recruitment and existing business retention and expansion support. We offer these projects site selection assistance, expedited permitting, application assistance to the local Foreign Trade Zone, project management, research assistance and a variety of other business support services.
To learn more, give the Chamber a call at (423) 756-2121.
*See the Infographic below for more information about the Volkswagen Expansion's impact on Chattanooga and Tennessee.